England’s chances of World Cup glory

April 17, 2010

Cesc Fàbregas, football icon
“When we began researching what would become our book Why England Lose & Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained, we decided not to believe a word that anyone said about the game. Instead we would test its shibboleths against data. It was about time, too. For decades, football had escaped the Enlightenment. Clubs are mostly run by people who ignore data and do what they do because they have always done it that way. These people used to ‘know’ that black players ‘lacked bottle’, and they would therefore overpay for mediocre white players. Today, they discriminate against black managers, buy the wrong players and then let those players take penalties the wrong way.” (FI – Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski)


Inter Milan (Internazionale) 2-0 Juventus – Recap and Video Highlights – Serie A – Friday, April 16, 2010

April 17, 2010

“Inter Milan hosted Juventus in the Italian Serie A with a chance to go top of the table. Juventus are aiming to move into the top four and play in the UEFA Champions League next season. Inter needed a win as they trailed AS Roma by one point heading into the match while Juventus were in 6th place and three points behind 4th place.” (The 90th Minute)

Inter 2-0 Juventus: I Nerazzurri rely on a sending-off and a wonderstrike
“Inter emerge victorious, but it was far from easy. A surprising system from Alberto Zaccheroni flummoxed Inter, and it took a combination of Momo Sissoko’s madness and Maicon’s brilliance to give Inter the crucial three points. No surprises from Inter – they played what is now their usual 4-2-1-3 shape, with Samuel Eto’o and Goran Pandev switching wings.” (Zonal Marking)

Gillett & Hicks: Overpaid, Over-leveraged And… Over

April 17, 2010

Jan Brueghel, Triumph des Todes
“At a time when stock market flotations were all the rage in top football circles, performance-related pay (PRP) was all the rage in public sector/civil service offices. Both ideas proved to be rubbish (see ‘bankers’ bonuses’ for details). But not before both wrought considerable damage. A key part of PRP where I once worked was the concept of ‘SMART’ objectives, which won the ‘misleading acronym of the year’ award so often in the early-90s it got to keep the trophy. SMART stood for ‘Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timeous.’ And while this contained an element of superficial common-sense, it failed utterly as a measure of determining pay, for reasons to numerous and dull to detail here.” (twohundredpercent)

World Cup scouting: Lucas Barrios (Paraguay)

April 17, 2010

“A common complaint of international coaches in World Cup year is that they simply don’t have enough time to prepare their squads for the manifold rigours of such an unremittingly high-profile tournament. Teams go into the World Cup backed by supporters who believe their performance will wash away years of accumulated disappointment in one fell swoop, despite having spent only a matter of weeks together by way of preparation in the majority of cases.” (Football Further)

Stoichkov: Bulgaria’s blessing

April 17, 2010

“There are some World Cup legends that made an impact in many different tournaments. Some only needed one to elevate themselves to a similar status and Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov is one of them. Stoichkov is now viewed in the same breath as Georgi Asparuhov in his homeland and few have come close to emulating his achievements since – with Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov the closest of the current breed so far.” (ESPN)

Meet the luckiest fan in the world

April 17, 2010

“While scuffles broke out at South Africa’s ticketing centres and football fans (including myself) grew irritated at yesterday’s computer ticketing collapse, leaving many empty-handed, one man sat exceedingly pretty. He hadn’t needed to sleep overnight on the streets of Cape Town nor Johannesburg – where one devoted couple hired a hotel room near a Fifa centre so they could tag-team for a 20-hour marathon that eventually yielded two much-coveted tickets for the final.” (BBC)